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In the third episode of The Global Classroom Podcast, Meet Tim Gascoigne, a successful teacher entrepreneur.
Welcome back to The Global Classroom podcast, where we bring you insightful interviews with experts in the field of online education.
In today’s episode, we have the pleasure of speaking with Tim, an accomplished teacher entrepreneur who has successfully built his own online teaching business.
Tim shares his journey, experiences, and valuable tips for aspiring teacher entrepreneurs looking to make their mark in the industry.
How to Become a Successful Teacherpreneur – Tips to Help You Reach Your Goals with Tim Gascoigne
Introducing Tim, the Teacher Entrepreneur
David introduces Tim as an online teacher who helps other teachers grow their online teaching businesses. Also known as the Online Teacher Dude, Tim, is a trained classroom teacher turned teacher entrepreneur.
After resigning from his teaching job, he started teaching ESL online and his YouTube channel teaches other online teachers how to build their own teaching businesses.
Tim lives in Bangkok, Thailand and loves anything to do with coffee, Crossfit, and slow travel experiences.
Tim, with a background in teaching, started his online teaching career using Skype. He began working with companies like VIP Kid before transitioning to teaching privately due to changes in the industry.
Tim specializes in teaching English to young Chinese learners, and he has found great success in his independent teaching venture.
The Power of Word-of-Mouth Referrals
Tim explains that he primarily works with private students and clients, and focuses on building strong relationships with his existing students. Through word-of-mouth referrals vs social media, he has been able to attract a steady stream of new students.
This approach highlights the importance of delivering quality education and creating a positive educational experience, leading satisfied students to recommend him to others.
Flexibility and Experimentation in Teaching Methods
One of the advantages Tim enjoys as an online teacher is the flexibility it offers. He can experiment with different teaching methods to find what works best for his students.
Tim uses various resources, including pre-made curricula, books, and discussion lessons from Engu and Raz Kids. He emphasizes the importance of finding materials that cater to both ESL and non-ESL students, ensuring an inclusive and engaging learning environment.
The Mindset of a Teacher Entrepreneur
Tim introduces the concept of being a “Teacher Entrepreneur” – someone who wants to build their own business as a teacher. He emphasizes the need to take risks and maintain the right mindset when venturing into entrepreneurship.
In his teacher consulting business, Tim advises aspiring teacher entrepreneurs to have a clear direction, identify their target audience, and leverage online platforms for connection and conversion.
He shares his own journey of helping teachers through his YouTube channel, courses, webinars, coaching sessions, and live events.
Tim’s entrepreneurship teachers guide highlights the power of word-of-mouth marketing and consistency in building brand awareness.
Navigating the Online Teaching Industry
Tim discusses the two types of teachers who want to enter the online teaching space: those who gain experience with companies or marketplaces, and those who start their own businesses to attract private students.
Of teachers who became entrepreneurs, both can be successful options!
He speculates on the future of the industry, mentioning the rise of teacher entrepreneurs and potential changes in online teaching models. Online tutoring can be a good side business for teachers, too.
While acknowledging the impact of AI, Tim emphasizes that teachers who know how to use AI effectively will remain valuable. Online business ideas for teachers have expanded thanks to AI!
Seizing Market Trends and Opportunities
As teachers who started their own businesses, Tim and David delve into market trends and opportunities within the online teaching industry.
Tim promotes his masterclass for starting a teaching business in China, highlighting the three key aspects of success: knowing the culture, understanding the competition, and building connections.
Overcoming Limiting Beliefs and Taking Action
As the interview concludes, Tim offers advice to aspiring teachers who may have limiting beliefs holding them back. He encourages them to take action toward their goals, overcome obstacles, and embrace the entrepreneurial journey.
Tim’s message is clear: anyone can make a difference by sharing their own experiences and supporting others along the way.
In this insightful interview, Tim has provided a wealth of knowledge and practical tips for aspiring teacher entrepreneurs.
By focusing on building relationships, embracing flexibility, leveraging resources, adopting an entrepreneurial mindset, and seizing market trends, individuals can navigate the online teaching industry successfully.
So, if you’ve been dreaming of becoming a teacher entrepreneur, take Tim’s advice to heart and embark on this exciting journey toward building your own online teaching business. Remember, the future is bright for those who are willing to take the leap!
3 Secrets to Launching & Growing Your Online ESL Teaching Business
How to start, launch and grow an online ESL teaching business in China using a proven roadmap for success regardless of your business or technology background so that you can focus on the things that matter.
1. Making the Key Decisions
Learn how to make the key decisions with easy so that you can move on to actually launching your teaching business.
2. Launching with Confidence
Learn how to launch with confidence to sell packages of classes charging what you are worth and showing up professionally.
Episode: #3 – “How to Become a Successful Teacher Entrepreneur – Tips to Help You Reach Your Goals with Tim Gascoigne”
Global Classroom: The Tutor Resource
Host (David Cole): hello everybody, and welcome to Tim. He’s the online teacher dude. He’s helping teachers teach while equipping them with the skills to grow their online teaching business. So. Hello, Tim. And maybe you can introduce yourself a little bit to everybody.
Tim: Hey, David. Hello everybody. As David said, I’m Tim. Thanks so much for having me. Really looking forward to the conversation and just talking about online teaching and building an online teaching business. I’m originally from Bermuda. I grew up there and then moved to Canada, started my teaching career there and then moved overseas to Asia about 13 years ago. So I’ve been over here living in China, then Malaysia, and now in Bangkok, Thailand. So it’s evening here, that’s why it’s dark out. That’s a little bit about me. And yeah, I help teachers know, get started in this online teaching industry and to build their teaching businesses.
Host (David Cole): It’s very cool. How did you get your start teaching online?
Well, the story actually really started in 2013 when I left my teaching job in China to move to Malaysia. And then I had been doing some in person, like, tutoring teaching with some kids from my class and from other classes in the school that I was teaching in. And that was like a really profitable way to make some extra money. But when I left Beijing for Malaysia, I had one parent who was really adamant that I had to keep teaching her son. I was like, how am I going to do that? I’m moving and I’m starting a new job. But okay, let’s figure it out. So we used like Skype and a few other tools to kind of connect the dots. It was pretty messy and it wasn’t the greatest. Skype worked about 50% of the time in China.
And then so we would do calls on, WeChat video and screenshotting things and emailing and I mean, it was the messiest online teaching thing I’ve ever done, but it was like the start. And I still teach him ten years later. Yeah, it’s like very randomly, but I still do classes with him. He’s now in twelveTH grade in a Chinese high school. He was in my first grade class, so he’s like the beginning of the story. So anyway, I taught him for about five, four or five years in Malaysia. Four years, I guess. And then I quit my teaching job in Malaysia. To kind of figure out what I could do other than teaching. And then I found VIP Kid, which was a big growing company back then. And I got started with them and I was like, wow, this is so know.
I still had this one student on the side. He would bring his friends into it once in a while, so I would get a couple of other students. So I had a few students privately, but then most of my time and effort was with VIP Kid. And I was kind of working like 4 hours a day for VIP Kid, had a couple of private students on the side, but it didn’t really click that I could make the independent teaching thing my full time gig until all the companies shut down. So I think your question was how did I get started? I probably talked too much, but yeah, that’s kind of how I got started.
Host (David Cole): That’s awesome because that brings us into 2021. The world kind of did a little shift for this industry of ours with China’s political decisions, and it changed things. So how did that make you pivot?
Yeah, well, it was like prior to that, I guess I had been talking a lot about diversifying your income and that I saw this huge industry of teachers that were like working for one company like VIP Kid and sort of selling their soul to them. And I really encourage teachers to think about other companies because when someone doesn’t want you anymore, they don’t care about your needs, they’re just going to let you go or the company could fall to pieces, which happened with some of the smaller ones. So I was just always talking about that and I myself was doing that as well. I was hired with about four companies still teaching, mainly with VIP Kid, but I had the opportunity to open classes with other companies should I want to.
And so just with all that diversifying I was doing and talking about with teachers when it all came crashing down in that August of 2021, I pivoted initially to take my students and teach them privately, but I also was able to sort of talk about how other teachers could do that too. And because I had a little bit of experience doing it on my own with Chinese students, as I said, with that one student that I had for at that point, about eight years, then I felt like I was able to kind of help teachers to do the same thing. And there was a huge need of that. There was just so many teachers that were floundering, not knowing how to kind of connect the dots and do it on their own, but still wanting to.
So I guess I just pivoted with everybody else that wanted to keep teaching online. I mean, a lot of teachers wanted to go into other industries, which is great. I mean, used it as a reason to maybe do something different. But then there was this huge group of teachers that still wanted to teach privately. So I just was a little bit ahead of the game with that and was able to help them. So I pivoted my teaching. I hung on to Vipkit for a little while, I should say. I hung on to them probably until the end of 2021. Some of the company was still kind of phasing out slowly, and then I pivoted my content that I was creating for teachers to be more focused around, hey, how can you do this on your own without a company?
Because we’ve now seen in a huge way how companies are just not stable and they’re not going to look out for you. So how can you do this on your own, make more money, work a little bit less maybe, and have more freedom. So that’s what happened. Yeah. Did I answer the question?
Host (David Cole): You definitely did.
One of the biggest things I saw during that transition well, there was two big things. One was companies always provided me with my teaching material.
And I don’t have anything to teach except for maybe these workbooks that I bring over from school. And the other was pay how much Am and the groups at the time were talking about, well, should I charge the same that VIP kid paid me, or should I change the same that Gogo paid me, or Magic, or should I charge more and why? And so that was a big thing. Did you get involved with many of the people that were working with you with that on those topics?
Yes, in a huge way. And there was everything under the sun for pay rates, like you said. Well, I was getting $15 an hour from this company, so I’ll charge $20 an hour on my own. And what I would say is, why would you do that? Sorry, my cat is just ripping through the chair here. She wants the attention. But why would you charge that when they’re actually paying 45 or 50 to the company? They’re just paying you a third of that? Yeah. So I got sure, lots of discussions.
And it’s often a very personal thing for people too, because you have to come to an understanding of what you’re worth, what your time is worth, and what you’re comfortable putting out there as your price, because that’s really hard to do for teachers that have never done that before and all of a sudden had to say, I’m worth 30 or 40 or $50 an hour. And it’s scary to do that at first. So, yeah, there definitely is some mindset shift that has to happen from being someone that was just working for someone else and being told what your rate is. Even though you may not have liked it, you just accepted it and you worked. And it was easy to then saying, this is what I offer and this is what I’m worth.
And so yeah, I was involved in lots of discussions around that and that’s usually a big struggle for teachers when they’re starting their business. And as well, you asked about the curriculum. I would say that’s even more challenging because you’re right, I mean, they were given everything from the beginning to do what they were doing, so to all of a sudden now have to come up with their own stuff. Was scary at first and overwhelming, I guess.
Thankfully now there’s getting more and more options for people to have that different people, different companies, different creators, creating themselves, lots of different things that people have done. And I always tell people, if you’re creating it yourself, you should charge more because it’s a lot of work.
You put that in.
Yes, exactly. Yeah, I remember I would put together little resources for teachers like, okay, here’s what I kind of know is out there. It’s probably not everything, but I was just trying to put different options that teachers could purchase if they didn’t want to create their own, and then there was a smaller group of teachers that they found this new opportunity to create their own stuff, which is awesome. Many realize that it’s a ton of work and if you’re not going to charge more or at least sell those resources, then maybe it’s not worth it. But yeah, fortunately there’s a lot of options out there now and that’s something that you help teachers to list those right on your definitely.
Host (David Cole): On the tutor resource. The biggest curriculum we even have on the tutor resources, I think almost 500 lessons. And that’s taken, what is it now, a year and a half to make all those between it’s rotating on the amount of teachers that make them but five to eleven people. And that’s a year and a half of almost of constant work making those lessons.
It’s not an easy thing to do on your own.
No, my hats off to teachers that create their own things because it’s a lot of work for sure, and it’s a long game. I mean, it’s not something you’re going to be able to do quickly for sure. Yeah.
Host (David Cole): What would you say then? What are your teaching specialties?
Host (David Cole): Yeah. What are your qualifications and what types of courses do you work with teachers, students on?
Sorry, clarify this question.
Okay, say it again.
I thought you were asking about experience.
Host (David Cole): That’s fine. For myself, I really work with mostly English. I teach kids English. There’s occasionally where I will work with them on something else, but I’m usually trying to teach them English through science or through a history course or something like that.
Tim: Okay. I understood it as what my background in teaching? I just misunderstood the question. Yeah. Right now I’m teaching mainly young Chinese learners that are learning English. So I do a combination of one one classes and occasional group classes and I’ve had a lot of the same students over the last couple of years. Does that answer your question?
Host (David Cole): Are you doing that solely through your own private business or are you working from some of these other companies as well that are still out there?
Yeah, no, I’m not with any companies anymore at all. I’m just solely doing that on my own. I have about twelve to 15 students. It’s one of the things as you build up other projects or income sources, the online teaching is something that I’ve been working at decreasing a little bit, and so just so that I can have more time for other things. Hello, union. But I’m still teaching about 2 hours a day with my private students and they generally purchase a package of classes that last three to four months. And I have a lot of repeat students that have been with me, as I said, for a couple of years.
And then I have a pretty good funnel of new students that when I need a new student, like if one of my students, for whatever reason, moves on, then I can fill in the holes. I generally don’t teach any students younger than like eight and then not too much older than twelve.
How do you find your students? That’s a big question with a lot of people out there that don’t like, how do I find new students?
Yeah, I try to flip that word find to attract because I find that when we’re tasked with finding students, it becomes this sort of arduous task of going out there and I don’t know this student exists and we need to bring them in. But I think if we think of it as attracting students and building up our teacher brand, wherever that is online, then for me it’s mainly with my existing students. So I really build off of word of mouth referrals. I’ve done a little bit of marketing, but very little. I really haven’t needed to do very much outside of just my own students. And because I’ve been sort of gaining leads over the last few years on WeChat, that’s mainly how I have been able to do it.
Okay, cool. And so then what do you like the best about online teaching? Sounds like you’ve been doing it a long time.
So many things. Yeah, so many things. I guess I like that it is so varied and that it doesn’t have to look a certain way. I like that we have so much freedom within it to experiment a little bit. I mean, I’ve changed so many different things just in the last couple of years. With the resources that I use, with the method that I use, sometimes I feel like certain way of doing things may not be working with a particular student. I’m free to change that. So I really love that. Initially I could not get over how amazing it was that here I was. I quit teaching because I hated the bureaucracy and all the extra stuff, but I could still do the teaching and I could do it from home.
I felt like I had found this magic formula of I don’t know, it was just amazing when it all sort of was like at its peak with the companies back in whenever it was 2017. When I got started, I just felt like it was just the most incredible thing because I was able to work from home, make money, and still teach without all the stuff that I didn’t like about teaching. And I know a lot of online teachers will say that because it really was just such a crazy phenomenon at the time, but yeah. So I like that I can combine those two teaching and working at home that I like that it’s flexible, that it’s on my own terms. Like, I’m taking Thursday and Friday off this week, no problem. I can take a holiday here if I need to.
And as I said, that I can sort of evolve and change and try new things and experiment with group classes. Or I’ve even experimented a little bit with having sort of one on two situation, two students in a class that I just felt were really similar, and I was like, Jeez, I could do so much. They didn’t know each other. The parents didn’t know each other. But I just put them together and I charged them less than their one one class. But I actually was making more because of it. So it was not a ton more, but more. Ten to 20% more. So that was cool. Yeah, it’s pretty amazing. That’s why I like a lot of things about it.
It is fun to experiment with these courses and these students and seeing what works and what doesn’t work for them. I’ve even introduced my son to some of my students, and they sat there and the mom paid for my kid just to play Minecraft with their kid. Oh, yeah, they were both on their own devices. They’re not connected playing together because you can’t connect the Chinese Minecraft to the US Minecraft. But they would talk and then they would show their screen to them, say, look what I built.
Yeah, I think that bridge of cultural connection is pretty cool. Pretty awesome.
So there are so many different ways you can do this. I want to start introducing group courses where we get into and do a board game together, and they have to talk their way through a class and things like that.
So there’s a lot of different ways you can do it. Now, we touched on teaching materials a minute ago, but where do you get yours? How do you find your materials?
Well, I’ve gathered lots over the last several years, and I use different ones with different kids, but I primarily use a pre made curriculum, and then I use some books and resources from Raz kids, and I also use some discussion type lessons from Engu and yeah, just kind of a combination. Like, I’ve got also some good grammar books that I find, like, a lot of the premade curriculums don’t focus sometimes enough on certain things. Like, they’re good at some things but maybe lacking in some other in other areas. So I hang on to certain books. But there’s so much teachers ask a lot where I should say, can I get this stuff? And there are free things online. They’re not great. So I would invest in something that is going to help your students get results, but also that you’re comfortable teaching.
So look at what’s online and look at what’s out there. But don’t be afraid to spend a little bit of money on something that’s going to help you out there, because it can be, in the beginning difficult if you don’t know what to use. So there’s lots of stuff out there, but invest I guess you don’t have to spend a lot of money, but invest in a few things that work.
Well if you got to find the ones that actually work, what you want. When I first started this and I had a transition, I started using Learnalink because she was one of the first ones to put things out there.
Okay, yeah, I’ve heard of that one. Yeah.
But I ended up teaching more classes faster than she could make lessons.
Okay. Yeah, that’s the thing. A lot of them are incomplete, aren’t they? So you got to either make your own or find maybe programs that are out there that are more, I guess, complete. But even some of the programs out there are geared maybe sometimes to native speakers, so you have to sort of be aware of that.
They work really well with teaching.
Yeah, they work well, I find, with, like, the Wonders. I’m thinking of the Wonders Books. Are you familiar with them?
Yeah, they’re reading books. Yeah. I’m using with one of my students right now.
Yeah. So I recently got three siblings as new students, and they’re all international school, and so they’re not really learning English at a level like that an ESL student would be. They’ve got a pretty good understanding of it. They just want to expand their vocabulary and sort of work within a more us type of language approach. So it works really well for them, I find, but I struggled when I tried to use them with ESL students because it is difficult for some.
I think a lot of the teachers, some of the ones that are getting started with this are going to find that they’re going to have parents that will make recommendations. I want my so have you had experience with that?
Yeah, in the beginning.
Draw the line, I am the expert, or that you’re going to acquiesce to them.
Yeah, I always say like, okay, what are your goals for your children? Your child? Okay. You want them to do X, Y and Z. All right. I’m going to find something that’s going to help them to improve in that, trust me. And that usually works. I never commit to a program or curriculum because then you’re stuck. So I would say don’t do that. But yes, they often do hear the buz programs out there like, well, Wonders, I think, was one of them that.
Was widely used by National Geographic is another one.
National Geographic? Yeah. Oxford, maybe.
Yeah, maybe a little bit. Yeah. I’m like, I don’t want to teach you the British version. I want to teach you the American version.
Yeah, that’s right.
I had one who said, no, my kid learns all his vocabulary in his mainland school classes, and I’m like, okay, teach him what he needs to know when he gets to America. I’m like, okay, so we’ll figure that out. So I’m actually teaching him more adult stuff, the materials that I found, because that’s really where you get it. More business English and more just colloquialisms and expressions.
Okay, have you found good adult curriculum out there?
Some. I found some workbooks, and I’ve been taking my time trying to turn them into presentation type materials as well so that others will have access to them later, but with my own students first.
Is that adult stuff? Yeah, it’s important. There’s so many adults that want to learn it or their business is saying, hey, I’m going to send you over there, but you need to know this first. That’s another big area of English growth that people can get into.
Yeah, for sure.
And I know you and I have talked about this in the past. You consider yourself a TeacherPreneur?
Yeah, TeacherPreneur. Well, I mean, it’s like a play on the word entrepreneur, right?
Yeah, I guess it’s a little buzzword.
Entrepreneur. Yeah. Or entrepreneur. Entrepreneur. What is that? I mean, an entrepreneur is someone who owns a business, runs a business. I’ve heard solopreneur, someone doing it on their own. I think the word TeacherPreneur, to me, just sounds like a teacher who is wanting to build their own business. So yes, I mean, to answer that, yes, but the word TeacherPreneur or entrepreneur also makes me think about certain qualities, too, like the journey of building your own business is full of risk taking and ups and downs and wins and losses and things like that. So, yes, I think I do consider myself a TeacherPreneur.
But when I talk about that word and things, I also talk about the skill set that comes with that you need to be resourceful and you need to have the right mindset and you need to know who you’re helping and all the sort of things that you would be doing as an entrepreneur with any business. But yeah, I do, but I think if you’re willing to go out on that journey of building your business, then you’re someone who’s willing to take risks. And so, yes, I think that you’d be an entrepreneur kind of advice would.
You give to somebody then, who is looking to branch out into this entrepreneurial lifestyle?
Yeah, well, I would say it’s a long term game that it’s not always easy. It comes with challenges and things like that. But for someone who wants to build a business that gives them more freedom and that also helps them to make more money, then I think you need to know, especially for teachers need to know. They need to have sort of a game plan as to what direction they’re going in. So for someone who’s maybe looking for students, you need to know the kind of student that you want to teach, for example, and where they’re hanging out online. And how are you going to connect with them? And then how are you going to convert them from someone who learns about you to someone who’s paying you for classes?
So there’s that whole journey that a potential student goes down, but then as the person who’s wanting to do this, you need to make some of those decisions in the beginning and whoops something very can you hear that a little bit?
Sorry about that. I thought it was on your end, interrupted by a call. My apologies. Yeah, as I was saying, when I got started, it’s not like I had all the answers. I think it’s also important to know that you can figure this out. I mean, there’s ways of learning new skills. We can go YouTube and learn anything we want to learn and figure it out. Right. Marie Folio said everything’s figureoutable. And it really is like, I learned so many things over the years just trying to do this on my own. So yeah, don’t be intimidated by it. But I think if you’re at the point of wanting to do something bigger for yourself, then you’re probably already on that road. It’s just a case of having some direction and reaching out to people who have gone before you get some help.
People are really helpful and supportive in this industry, so it’s not like you have to do it.
Well when you’re online and you’re searching for ESL, teaching in groups and things like that, there are so many different groups that pop up, more so than any yeah, there really so for ESL, it’s just a plethora of contacts.
I know it is. I don’t follow hardly any of them anymore because it’s just overwhelming. I used to do a lot of recruiting in groups, but I’m not in them anymore.
But there are supporting groups. I know you’ve got a lot of things going on also besides just teaching the kids. You’ve got your YouTube channel and you’ve got some workshops. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re doing to help people at this?
Yeah, I yeah, I’ve had the YouTube channel for about four years and I talk mainly about building a teaching business, but I also have created some courses for teachers. So one of them is sort of an entry level just free course to help you, to help the person that is maybe at the point of just wanting to be an online teacher, but they have no idea where to start. And then I have a course for teachers who want to start a teaching business primarily with Chinese students. And I have run some live webinars around that. And I do occasional things like this, get invited to talk at different summits. I ran one myself this last December.
So I’m just always putting myself in the online space to talk about online teaching topics through my website as well and working sometimes with third parties or affiliates and things like that. Most of what I do is the coaching side of it now, so helping teachers to really do what I’ve done to get started in the industry and to build a business.
Is that one one live coaching? Is it recorded? What kind of coaching do you do?
Yes, so I do some one one, just me and a teacher, and then I also do so the course that I have been running for the last two years has been like a live course for two weeks. We’re right in the middle of one right now with teachers that we come on group coaching calls throughout the two weeks and then they get access to pre recorded lessons throughout the two weeks and things like that. So it’s kind of what do you call synchronous, but also asynchronous. So there’s a little bit of both to it. And now, actually, as of this month, or I should say after this month, the course will be available asynchronous so you can take it at any time and go through it.
Because I’m looking at creating some other things, some other projects to move away from this particular course, but have it available for someone to go through, but maybe offer something else.
Yeah, well, I guess so, but yeah, I’m still wavering with the direction. But I love the course. The course that I’ve created is called Launch. I love it and it’s at its best right now, and I don’t want to not make it available. It’s just out of work to run live. And I don’t hire anyone. It’s just me. So I have to do what’s, man? What’s that?
No virtual assistants, nothing like that going on?
Nothing? No, nothing. I don’t know. There’s so many different directions I could go with it, but no. I’ve paid people to do things for me before, but I’ve never felt like I needed somebody full time or even part time. I keep thinking about it sometimes. I keep thinking, jeez, I should outsource I don’t want to do this anymore. I could get. Someone else to do it. Or I could have someone help me to build something up more because two brains are better than one. But no, just me. So I can only do so much.
For those of you watching that aren’t familiar with any of Tim’s courses, I’ve talked to people who’ve gone through some of his courses and they found the group sessions. The advice is just very useful in getting started with your own business. I’ve heard personal recommendations about your courses.
Oh, that’s great. Thank you. That’s always good. Yeah, that’s the best PR, which, I don’t know if you’re going to ask me about marketing, but that’s one of the things I was going to mention is the best PR that you can have for your business is someone talking about it. And that’s my favorite way to grow even with my students is know my students talking about me to other potential students. Like how can’t get any better than that, right? Forget marketing, forget Facebook ads, forget all of that stuff you may not even need. So don’t be intimidated by marketing because that is how the course did. Well, many times is know, I would do live or I would do something and I would have three or four teachers that went through the course saying in the comments how helpful it was.
Well, I could talk all day about it, of course I’m going to say it’s helpful, but if someone else says it’s helpful, then that went through it. Then that’s the best marketing you can have.
Definitely. I think your brand is pretty well known. The online tutor dude, people bring that up. They’ve talked about it, especially in the ESL industry. So going on that whole thing of marketing, how do you build the brand and have such awareness?
Yeah, well, I would say it was by at some times I felt like it was an accident. But I think if I look back on it was consistency and a little bit of insight. So consistency in showing up regularly, right. And then a little bit of insight into what teachers really needed and I knew that I could do something different by really answering people’s questions and just being helpful. And so that was kind of like how I got started on YouTube was just being helpful. But even from the very first video I ever made on YouTube, I felt like it was going to be a thing. Even though I didn’t know how it was going to be a thing I wanted it to be.
I mean, I really wanted to be the person that someone went to when they had questions about online teaching and there’s a lot of people out there doing similar things. But I guess I was just consistent with always making videos about in the beginning it was all about companies and then I pivoted to talking about independent teaching. But I think people see me as like a support for them in their online teaching journey. So I’m just trying to help them by either doing interviews or by sharing my journey.
I always like hearing about people’s journeys. Hearing about someone’s journey is definitely inspiring. What you created with your YouTube and your online teacher dude presence, sounds like you carried some of that over into your advice to teachers during these workshops of.
Definitely. Exactly. Because I think teachers can sort of identify and resonate with someone when they hear of someone going through something similar or struggling with the same things or asking the same questions. So, yeah, I would agree with you, but I think anyone can. I didn’t have any specific expertise when I started. I was just maybe a few steps ahead of somebody else. And that’s all you really need to be is just a few steps ahead to help them, to help bring them along to where you are. So that’s what I’ve always thought every time because I have imposter syndrome all the time with everything, but I always think, well, am I a few steps ahead of them where I could just bring them along this journey with me? Yeah. Okay, then why not put myself out there and talk about it?
Even though I may not be an expert, I can share my perspective or I can help them get the answers or whatever the case may be. But I tell people, you just need to be a few steps ahead of someone else to help them out. You don’t have to be an expert. We’ll never do anything online or build our own business if we feel like we have to be perfect.
Can you give us a sneak peek if I’m just coming to you? I want to be part of your newest workshop that’s going to be going on. And I’ve never done this really before, other than work, maybe for one of the bigger companies out there while it was there, and I want to get back into it again now. How would you start out with me? What kind of advice would you start out with me?
Right, well, I would figure out first, I would ask a little bit about your experience and your goals. What I found is there’s, like, two types of teachers who are wanting to get into the space. The first kind of teacher is like they’re brand new. They’ve never taught online before. Maybe they’ve never even taught before. Right. But they just see this industry as pretty attractive. You could make money at home. Right. So there’s that teacher, and then there’s a teacher who maybe they were with the company before, but then they’ve been out of it for a couple of years. They’ve got a little bit of direction, some experience, a little bit of vision. Maybe they’ve got some understanding of the space. Yeah.
So those two types of teachers and with the first teacher, I would really probably encourage them to get some experience working with a company or a marketplace to kind of figure out what it is that they want to teach. First of all, they pay mostly horrifically, so I wouldn’t spend too much time there. But it still, to me, is a great way to get your foot in the door and to play around with. What type of student do you want to teach, and who are you as a teacher? Number two, so do you like these scripted sort of PPT slides, or do you like the creative aspect of bringing in different resources? Or do you like conversation more than anything? And you feel like that’s so you can really find out where you’re skilled at?
And then the second kind of teacher, I would say, let’s look at how you could maybe do this on your own and bypass that route of getting stuck with a company. And so we would work together on getting started with private students. So targeting your niche, where are you going to find those students? What kind of help could you be to them online? What kind of free resources can you create? How can you attract them into your classroom? Whether that’s with the Chinese market or anything, homeschooling market in the US. Or anywhere, or adults. So that’s how I would sort of direct that’s. What I generally find is there’s the two types of teachers who are wanting to get into the space.
That’s interesting. And you’ve got a lot of experience, been in this industry for a while. Where do you see the industry going, say, the next five years?
Oh, boy, I’ve had people ask me that before. Well, first, I think there’s going to be a rise of this idea of TeacherPreneur. I think there’s going to be more teachers building their own thing and doing their own thing, which is exciting. I think that there might be a change in what online teaching looks like. Like, for many of us, it looks like a teacher teaching one student, two students, or a group of students. But I think there’s going to be maybe a move into different opportunities. Like, can teachers create asynchronous courses to offer to students? What other models of online teaching out there might become more popular? And then I think this whole AI thing is interesting, right? Like, I think AI might have something to have a huge effect. Maybe. I saw this phrase somewhere.
I can’t remember where I saw it, but it said, hang on, I wrote it down here. I wanted to quote it exactly. Yeah. AI isn’t going to replace you as the teacher, but rather a teacher who knows how to use AI is going to replace you as a teacher. A lot of people say, Well, AI is going to does that mean that we’re not going to be needed? No, I still think we’re going to be needed, but the skills of using it is going to be what sets you apart from a teacher who isn’t?
It’s just like anything that doesn’t know how to use, not anything that replaces anything. Anytime there’s something new out there’s always the fear of replacement. But you could always be the person who programs it. You could always be the person who utilizes it. There’s so many things exactly. I could talk about. AI, I’m starting to play around with it, look at it. I could talk about that for too. Yeah, it’s got a lot of potential goods. There are some things that are going to fall away because it’s going to change. It in a that’s big. Do you think China, the Chinese policy, is ever going to change and these big companies are ever going to come back? Or do you think it’s just going to kind of continue being marketplaces?
I wouldn’t be too surprised if there was another evolution of this whole thing. I think the pendulum could swing back, maybe, but I don’t know. I just more and more feel like China is very closed off right now to anything. But there are still companies that are operating. It’s just that they’re not targeting Americans, they’re targeting Filipinos. Like five one Talk is still thriving, and they are hiring Filipino teachers. So I think that’s really interesting. There’s kind of a bias towards the companies that were targeting North American teachers specifically, but yeah, I don’t know. I really don’t know.
Yeah, it’s an interesting one to keep an eye on, I think. Maybe an eye on you never know. Policies change. I’ve had a lot of teachers ask me, where do you think I should focus my efforts? Should I focus on getting private Chinese students? Should I look at Russian students? Should I look at I mean, or should I diversify? That’s what I’ve been getting a lot of lately. Where’s the next boom of students going to come from?
Got any insight?
Yeah, I’ve heard the Middle East, I think, and I heard that market could be the next thing, but I don’t know. I just can’t really see it being any bigger than the Chinese market. But I don’t know.
I feel like I don’t know.
China is just so big, and there’s still such a competitiveness there for English and so many parents still wanting that for their kids. So I don’t know. I think they pay the best, too, but yeah, I don’t know what they.
Do pay really well. I brought up when I was in Colombia, somebody asked me, some just guy off the street asked me what my pricing was for teachings, and I told him my Chinese pricing was $50 an hour, and he was blown away because that’s not what you would get. Yeah, columbia.
That’s right. No, I bet you wouldn’t. Probably not even half that.
No, not even half. That was interesting, seeing reactions from that, because that’s the other thing you have to think of. You have to have a different pricing for every type of area or type of student you’re teaching.
So you do have something coming up and you wanted to tell some of the attendees about it, so you give us a little insight.
Sure. So, like, I have sort of been talking about I help teachers to start their teaching business mainly with Chinese students. So, yeah, I have a master class that folks can join at any time. So whenever you’re I don’t know if you’re going to have a replay of this, but you can go to onlineteacherdo.com webinar, so easy to remember, and you can sign up for the next available slot to join, so it’ll be available to watch whenever you go there, so at least within the next three to six months. But, yeah, it’s a master class on really sort of the three pillars or secrets or I think I call it secrets, but it’s really three key aspects of teaching within the Chinese market, and I really help you to walk away with some new tools and confidence to get started. That’s firstname.lastname@example.org webinar.
Cool. And we’ll have it linked down below as well on the page for everybody, so that’s good.
All right, I’m just checking it, making sure that because we’re recording this in advance, but yeah, that’ll be the link.
Very good. Cool. All right, well, then it’s been great talking to you. What would you say is your parting advice to someone first starting out that might be just be watching this and they’re just starting out? What’s your parting advice to them?
I would say get out of your own way. We get in our own way so much with a lot of things that we want to do, and just if you’re attending this, you’re someone who wants to grow and learn and make progress in your life and in your business and your online teaching. So I would just say, yeah, get out of your own way and make it happen, because there’s really nothing stopping us from doing what we want to do except our own limiting beliefs and stuff. So that’s what I would say. Get out of your own way and go do it.
Awesome. All right, well, thanks for your time. And again, everybody, get out of your own way and get on with yeah. All right, well, thank you, Tim. It was great talking with you today, and I’m sure people will be in for so much.
David. Thanks, everyone.
Thanks, everyone. Bye.